The term coconut has different uses. It can refer to a tree, the fruit of that species, an imaginary creature or the head of a person, to mention some of the meanings.
A coconut, therefore, can be a coconut tree. This plant species belongs to the family group of palms and reaches a height of about 25 meters, with leaves that are segmented into lacinia (elongated and irregular strips) and flower clusters.
Coconuts grow on tropical beaches, both in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and in the Caribbean Sea. To develop they require high temperatures and a high level of environmental humidity.
Uses of Coconut
The coconut is used in many ways. Its wood, for example, is used in the field of construction. With the fermented sap, meanwhile, a brandy known as coconut wine is made.
The copra (medulla) of the coconut allows the production of an oil (coconut oil). This substance is used to produce soap and margarine, among other items.
Use of the fruit
Two or three times a year, the coconut bears a fruit that is known by the same name. It is the size and shape of a melon and is covered with two rinds (one very hard and the other fibrous).
The fibers of the first bark of the coconut are used to make fabrics and ropes; with the second bark, utensils such as glasses and cups are made.
Adhered to the second rind appears a white pulp that is highly appreciated for its flavor. This pulp or meat can be eaten directly or used to make sweets, ice cream and other products. By crushing it and mixing it with water, the so-called coconut milk is generated.
Inside the coconut, there is also a liquid with cooling properties: coconut water. It is a refreshing drink that is very popular in various nations.
The coconut, a monster that frightens children
In the folklore of many countries, the coconut or cuckoo is a fictional character that adults use to scare children. When a father orders his son to do something and the little one refuses, he can warn him that, if he does not obey him, "the bogeyman will come".
The name of this creature is linked to the fact that it is usually represented with a head similar to the fruit of the coconut. In fact, in colloquial language, the term coconut is used to refer to a person's head (“Juan fell and hit the coconut”, “My coconut itches because of the lice”).
Returning to the concept of coconut as a monster, it appears in many nursery rhymes. The bogeyman is part of the group of child scarers, which includes other fantasy beings such as the man with the bag or the man with the bogeyman.